Botox has been widely embraced by Americans. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, more than 7 million Botox injections are now performed each year (for context, only 786,000 were performed in 2000).
Yet, it hasn't exactly become dinner party conversation, perhaps because there's still a stigma that getting the wrinkle relaxer means you're vain. So if no one you know will talk about their Botox experience, who do you turn to when you want real Botox advice that goes beyond the Botox basics?
That's where we can help. With the assistance of blogger Megan Stoeckl, a frequent Botox user, and physician assistant Emily Dowe of Epithereal Skin Care, we answer your pressing questions.
A good Botox injector knows how to administer enough units that the face can still move naturally, even while paralyzing wrinkle-causing muscles. But if you're really worried, you should start off with "baby Botox." This cutesy-sounding procedure just means that the practitioner will inject fewer units, around 10 in the forehead, for instance, instead of the typical 20 units used in this area. Bottom line, if you want a more subtle look, communicate that with your injector.
Not everyone wants to disclose that they use Botox because Botox shaming is unfortunately still a thing. But society is slowly becoming more accepting of the wrinkle fighter, and nowadays, you can find plenty of Botox-using celebrities, such as Kim Kardashian and Vanessa Williams, each of whom openly talks about her Botox experience.
Meg, for one, isn't shy about talking about it. "I don't have anything to hide," she says, "and my experience has been so wonderful that I wanted to let others know about it." In fact, she wishes everyone were open about using Botox. That way, she could have heard about it sooner, instead of "wasting money on creams that have minimal effect."
And Emily says that "many of our patients are open to talking about ... positive experiences and results."
Actually, people may not suspect that you've had Botox. Emily says that from most of her clients, she hears that "their friends and family think they look well rested or they had a good facial." Epithereal's approach, she adds, is to "strive for a natural look unless otherwise specified."
Emily has heard that patients say their Botox looks too subtle, but that's usually because the effects can take up to 14 days to fully show up. If you feel like you didn't get the look you asked for after that time, you can definitely go back to your injector and have them tweak their work.
For Meg, it's all about tone. "I think as long as you don't ask in a negative manner, it's fine." If you're worried about offending, though, you can always tell your friend she looks radiant, and see if she volunteers a reason why.
Your age won’t necessarily play a factor in determining whether or not you need Botox injections. Things like your genetics and facial expressions are more important.
And while there is such a thing as too young to get Botox—the manufacturer recommends patients be at least 18 years old—there’s nothing wrong with getting Botox shortly after this time.
Again, everyone's skin ages differently, and a younger person could easily have more wrinkles than someone older. For instance, maybe a 20-something is just naturally more expressive than a 35-something. And even if someone young doesn't have noticeable wrinkles, they may want to use Botox as a preventative treatment. Ultimately, it's up to the provider to decide if injections are appropriate.
Maybe our video of a Groupon employee getting Botox injections will clarify things for you. If you still can't decide after the video and all of our Botox advice, think about it this way: you could always try it and see what you think. After all, the results aren't permanent, and if you don't like them, you never have to get Botox again.
Botox can cause life-threatening complications, including problems swallowing, speaking, or breathing. Read all of the safety considerations Botox injections here.